nanya Panday’s mom Bhavana on her daughter’s le Bal debut in Paris: It was just like a fairytale! – In the next two years, there will be a whole bunch of young star kids who will step on to the silver screen. While Shahid Kapoor’s brother Ishaan has already made his debut with Majid Majidi’s Beyond The Clouds and is now shooting for Dhadak, Sridevi’s daughter Janhvi is all set for a grand launch opposite him. Saif Ali Khan and Amrita Singh’s daughter Sara Ali Khan, too, is currently shooting for Kedarnath, which will mark her foray into Bollywood. Along with them, another young lady — Chunky and Bhavana Panday’s daughter Ananya — is already a star on social media. The 19-year-old was recently spotted at the grand le Bal, Paris, which is an annual charity fashion event that brings together several promising newcomers from across the globe.
Bhavana spoke to After Hrs about the event, how her daughter is gearing up for Bollywood, and why she feels the younger crop of actors is refreshingly different. Over to her…
Ananya looked stunning at the le Bal this year. How did everything fall into place?
We got an email from Ophelie Renouard, the CEO of le Bal. I wasn’t aware of their criteria for selection. So, I was a bit surprised. Usually, there’s always a phone call when someone invites you. But this was just a mail that came to me. It had Ophelie’s number, so I called her and took all the details. Chunky, me, our younger daughter Rysa, and our nephew Ahaan accompanied Ananya to Paris.
How was the experience?
It was just like a fairytale for her. It was so beautifully organised and the girls were literally treated like modern-day princesses.
Ananya has a lot of spark…
I hope she lives up to everyone’s expectations. I want all the kids to do well, but you obviously want the best for your child.
Did she always aspire to become an actress?
Yes. But when you are young, you only think of funny professions and they keep changing. As you grow up, you tend to be whomsoever you look up to. Earlier, Ananya wanted to become a ballerina but post 13-14, she has only spoken about becoming an actress. When she expressed that to us, we were happy with her decision.
Has she already started prepping up?
No, post her graduation from school, she has taken a one-year gap. She wants to join either New York University or the University of Southern California. During this one-year break, she’s training in dancing, a little bit of Hindi diction and acting. Her intense training will start only once she has signed a film and on the basis of the character she’s playing.
Do you want her to complete her education before she becomes an actress?
I would have loved it if she finished her college. Today, you have to be well read and educated. But I also feel that if you are spending a few years learning some subject, it has to be in context to the profession you want to follow.
I think a lot of that education in her life will happen now towards the career she wants to pursue. It will be an organic learning. Besides that, she’s a bright girl and an avid reader. We have only deferred her admission by a year. It’s not that she won’t be completing her education.
Sridevi said that she was shocked when Janhvi told her she wanted to act in films. What was your first reaction?
It wasn’t a sudden decision for Ananya. It happened organically over a year. Obviously, we had many discussions and debates about her going to college and the kind of course she should pursue. In the future, there will be intense competition in Bollywood and a lot of things will come into play such as hard work as well as the luck factor. We cannot sit and decide anyone’s future. Ananya needs to go with the flow.
What kind of a bond does she share with you?
She is extremely close to Chunky and me. She discusses almost everything with us. Of course, there are certain things which every child shares only with their best friends and not their parents.
Are you paranoid about her health and safety?
No, we are not paranoid, but we are extremely protective about her. Although Chunky can be sometimes paranoid about her health, I’m a stricter parent than him. There are certain rules and deadlines that she needs to follow till she’s living with us. For instance, I always ask Ananya and Rysa to inform us if they are getting late even if they are with their friends.
There are so many promising youngsters making their debuts in the next few years…
Everyone has got a great personality. They are fiercely independent and extremely focussed. They know what they want and are following that direction. We, as parents, should all support them.
There has been a huge debate about nepotism. Is Ananya prepared to face that question?
Of course, she is! She knows that she will be asked the same question and she’s prepared for it. Having said that, there are opportunities for everyone. People get noticed for who they are. Chunky came from a family of doctors and no one knew he would become an actor. His parents didn’t push for him too, so how can he be the face of nepotism? Look at Sridevi, she’s still one of the biggest actresses, even she came from nowhere and made it. So saying all this about her or even Amrita’s daughter is wrong.
Is Ananya friends with Sara and Janhvi?
They all know each other socially. But she’s not friends with them. Once she forays into Bollywood, they will all get to know each other and hopefully everything will be nice and positive. They will be friendly because the new generation is quite secure.
Today’s paparazzi culture is shocking and at times, extremely intrusive. Does it bother you as a mom?
Luckily, that has not happened to Ananya so far. There have been people who snapped her and she has posed for them. I do agree that it can be intrusive. But imagine if no one looks at you or clicks you at all! That would be worse than what they are going through now. Having said that, I do believe that everything should be within limits and we cannot intimidate the kids because they are still young.